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“Tell a white lie for no reason. They point fingers and bite the hand that feeds them. Help ’em Lord, for they know not what they do, swear to God they know better than you…Tell the truth,” by Jussie Smollett, actor/singer-songwriter.

The term ‘a white lie’ generally refers to the gentle lies we often tell each other or ourselves to avoid facing a harsh truth. Silence may be necessary at times; yet, in the end, the truth is better served though sometimes hurtful.

It is far better to be wounded by a thorn of truth and change our perspective, then shrink behind a bouquet of little white lies…to laugh not all of our laughter and cry not all of our tears.

Each time I hear young Jessie Smollett’s poignant song ‘Tell The Truth’ from the acclaimed television series Empire, it haunts me long after it’s finished. For me, it’s as if young Jessie, through the gift of his voice, is virtually crying out in the wilderness, beseeching those of us who are still asleep, and there are many, to wake up and see the truth before it’s too late.

And then, please tell the truth! Particularly, as it relates to decades of unregulated police abuse or harassment of African-American males, and others, that has now turned deadly.

Don Lemon’s Troubling Article

An award-winning journalist known for his pointed questions and impromptu remarks, his job, that reflects a free American spirit, Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and breaking news stories on-the-scene. Which has included the recent Baltimore Riots, the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, and the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford Florida. Before joining CNN in 2006, he had anchored for NBC News and its affiliates.

Although his recent article titled ‘Baltimore Crime is off the Charts, Guess Who Is To Blame?’ is troubling, I generally like Don’s reporting and follow him on CNN. While I feel Mr. Lemon is on our side re the smoldering issue of police abuse nationwide, I am not sure whether the article takes us to the truth-of-the-matter or distracts from it, here is why.

The above cited article reports a significant rise in crime in the Baltimore area, particularly the shootings and homicides over the Memorial Day weekend where “29 people were shot [and 8] were killed”. It also states that homicides are currently “up 40 percent from last year” making these crimes the deadliest since 1999. This, according to the mayor, is “disheartening” indeed, thus no argument there.

Seems “the recent unrest” is, in part, the blame for the crime surge. Yet, Commissioner Anthony Batts assures us that his police clearly are “not holding back” despite being surrounded by up to 50 citizens putting cameras in their faces whenever they respond to a call; a sure sign there is much work needed on community engagement, he states.

Though the article does not directly blame the mayor, the police commissioner, or the residents. Yet, by inferring that: “The real story however may not be anything Batts or the Mayor want to admit,” and that the reason for the crime surge “was the direct result of a coordinated police work slowdown,” alluding to an unnamed police officer’s beliefs, it sure seems so.

Are Massive Protests Against Police Brutality To Blame?

Apart from the recent riots in Baltimore sparked by Freddie Gray’s funeral, yet another African American male allegedly abused to death while in police custody, seems most of the nationwide protests against police brutality have been relatively peaceful.

The above cited article closes by stating: “But officers in Baltimore, according to at least one of their own, are turning their backs on not only the Mayor but also the citizens they’re sworn to protect, ” and ends with a list of shootings and homicides over the weekend.

Unintended perhaps, still it seems this scenario clearly smacks of the ol’ blame-the-victim game to avoid a harsh truth. This is not only troubling but dangerous! As the problem of systemic police brutality is escalating and threatens the very fabric of our great nation.

Are We Ready to Save Our Democracy?

Someone once said that the Chinese character for crisis represents destruction and opportunity. So, today, are we truly ready to save our democracy and take it to the next level? Or do we continue making the same old mistakes? The choice, as always, is ours.

First we have to recognize that our beloved democracy has not only reached a crisis, but the smoldering issue of nationwide police abuse is at its nexus!

Actually, the world often seems in one crisis or another; but, first, we must get our own stuff in order before we can even think about saving the world.

Thankfully, there are attributes within each of us ready to extinguish the smoldering fires of police abuse now! That now threatens to uproot democracy, our most cherished American value. Yet, we must be willing to see the truth and let it leads us…rather than continue with the usual convoluted cover ups.

Justice for Some Only is Likely the Real Culprit

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” a reminder from John Adams, c.1798, our 2nd U.S. President and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

Believe it or not! Today, justice for some only is likely the real culprit threatening to uproot our democracy, and it usually starts at the top. Thus making a mockery of the intent of our nation’s founders, and a facade of our U.S. Constitution that has now become fodder for the elite!

Though African-American males and other people of color, in particular, have either been harassed and humiliated or detained without cause by abusive police officers for decades, seems the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, with impunity, have sparked a new Civil Rights Movement. Many are protesting police brutality en masse while demanding justice for its victims!

In February 2013 while walking home alone on a misty evening, Trayvon Martin, an African American unarmed teenager was shot to death in Sanford Florida after being stalked by an alleged neighborhood watchman who never identified himself to Trayvon, states the police detective’s initial report. Before being killed by Zimmerman, Trayvon tells a friend on his phone that he is being followed by “a creepy ass white man,” a sure sign of intense fear.

Though Trayvon’s killer seemly had a fair trial, many believe otherwise. According to published reports, seems a bar to justice for Trayvon’s family and society likely started at the top; and ultimately corrupted the police investigation, the trial prosecution, and the jury.

In July 2014, Staten Island New York, Eric Garner an African American man, age 43, virtually died right before our eyes on national TV gasping “I can’t breathe.” Garner was in a chokehold held by a police officer trying to arrest him for selling untaxed single cigarettes. A petty crime that is evocative of Victor Hugo’s immortal hero Jean Valjean in Le Misérables, who is ever hounded by Inspector Javert, a self-righteous policeman, for stealing a loaf of bread, c.1862.

Today, Eric Garner’s tragic death seems to ask us all: Is not a person’s life worth more than a State’s tax on one cigarette? Are not our laws also meant to be merciful?

Though the New York Medical Examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide, in December 2014 a Staten Island Grand Jury declined to indict his killer. Thousands marched on Washington protesting police violence, with slogans of “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.” And so the clarion call for justice continues.

In August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot multiple times by a local police officer in Ferguson Missouri while begging for his life. Witnesses stated Michael had stopped running, and had turned around with his hands up in surrender. The police officer basically said Michael was madly charging at him with his fists balled up. Stumbling, grimacing, doubling up in pain from all those nasty ol’ gunshot wounds, dying perhaps? Of course, this atrocity would have easily been exposed in a fair trial.

No indictment was issued by the local Grand Jury. Thus, no trial!

In a March 4 2015 Memo re Michael Brown’s killing, the U.S. Department of Justice mainly states no criminal charges filed, case should be closed. Various witness testimony was deemed “inconsistent” that could also mean incoherent, confused, inarticulate, and so on. Yet, some of these witnesses were quite lucid during previous press interviews, in my opinion.

When We Tell the Truth, Everyone Wins

The most dangerous lie that we will ever tell, is the lie that we keep telling ourselves, whether collectively or individually. Such as the persistent lie that tells us we are wrong when we are right, and the lie that tells us we are right when we are wrong!

Within a democracy, a good police force is society’s first line of defense. It protects and serves its citizens and those in charge of society. When police dogma begins to see itself as a power separate from those it has sworn to protect and serve, despite the cause, society slowly gets the message and loses trust in its police force. Eventually, the police adopt the old us-against-them mentality. Soon, an undeclared war between the police and its people likely begins.

Whether its leadership care to admit it or not, society begins falling apart as fear is now in charge and the blame game begins. As we know, or should know, fear is a treacherous companion.

The police blame the people, usually those that are historically marginalized by society, and the so-called hero’s of the day, the politicians, rise up blaming the very same people by promising an all out war on crime and such.

Sadly, though the numbers may change, this fictitious war on crime is never won. Since rarely is the truth sought. That is, until the people have had enough and takes to the streets demanding justice, which is where we are today. But, of course, we have been here before. So how do we get out of it this time?

First, as the young troubadour says at the beginning herein, “Tell the truth”!

And since this current mess between the police and the people started at the top, our leaders must no longer be allowed to protect the cop who has failed; or, to protect the abusive cop who, much like the abusive parent, must no longer be tolerated by society.

Being human, we are quite capable of transferring our anger and hatefulness, unless stopped by our own sense of justice. So, like the rest of us, cops must also be responsible for their actions. No job is so dangerous that qualified workers cannot be held responsible for their failures.

Many veteran cops have never had to draw their weapons, nor do they become abusers. So they must be doing something right. Thus rules, regulations and self-disciple are highly valued by good cops and good people everywhere. Which is why truth and justice denied will ultimately destroy a well-ordered society despite its good intentions.

Preventing Police Abuse

Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, the police and firefighters who, without hesitation, sacrificed their own lives by going into the collapsing World Trade Center to save the injured while the able were frantically trying to get out, not only captured the world’s adoration but instantly became our national heroes. Sadly, as widespread police abuse intensifies, now caught on video, the adoration so nobly gained on 9-11 is slowly fading away.

Besides giving today’s good cops a very bad name, police abusers and their cover-ups have now turned our criminal justice system upside down.

Please fix this! As justice, or the lack thereof, ultimately affects the moral standard in any given society. Hence, justice for one is justice for all.

Much like stopping the abusive parent, the abusive cleric, and the abusive teacher, society must now admit that some police officers are abusers. And then make a concerted effort to prevent police abuse before the police officer spins out of control, rather than afterwards!

Thus, I still believe that a good way to deter police abuse is to enable the people to complain directly to their government about a troubling encounter with an abusive police officer, at all levels if necessary, and store such in a data system with a file number for reference.

Naturally, those police officers who tend to abuse, or resent others in general, will likely object loud and clear; and present all kinds of reasons why they should not be held directly accountable to the people they have sworn to serve and protect. But that’s to be expected.

Telling The Truth Matters

Recently, Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, a veteran police officer in McKinney Texas was suspended after a shocking video emerged, now gone viral on YouTube titled ‘Cops Crash Pool Party’, showing the raging officer shouting obscenities at some of the teenage party guests while soon manhandling a bikini clad African American female, age 14, and threatening to put her in jail if she doesn’t be quiet.

Besides pulling her hair, throwing her on the ground and pinning her face down with his knee until she is cuffed, seemly for no apparent reason, the officer drew his gun on the children coming to her aid as she frantically cried out: “ Call my mama and please don’t hurt me”.

Read more at: Texas police officer pulling gun on teenagers at pool party. Seems race played a factor as usual, read: Texas Pool Party Chaos, What Role Did Race Play and ‘Go back to your Section 8 home’. Expert news analysts on CNN and MSNBC basically stated the officer was definitely out of control. The kids were released; an investigation is now ongoing.

Thankfully, no one was killed…this time, though mentally and emotionally injured perhaps, which is also abusive. Yet, this was a highly trained police officer, a 15-year veteran. Who not only acted out of character but, by barking obscenities at some rather than speaking respectfully to all at the scene, he failed miserably on a potentially dangerous call.

Thus, when police officers fail, telling the truth matters. This is not only tantamount to ensuring stability in our criminal justice system, but stops police abuse that generally escalates violence rather than restore the peace.

If we can go to the moon, we can stop police abuse! Please tell the truth, it matters.

Update: Cpl. David Casebolt, the abusive police officer in the Texas pool party incident, has now resigned. Yet the situation is likely not over given talk of law suits and such. Related story here: Police Officer at Texas Pool Party Resigns Over Incident Caught on Video.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” ~Blaise Pascal, 17th Century Truthseeker

According to the Ancients, the heart is the psychic center of feeling; which, of course, is not the same as our human emotions that are generally born of our fixed opinions about things and events. Thus, learning to discern between our perception and our intuition ultimately becomes the primary task of all truthseekers.

Throughout the ages, seems women are thought to be more intuitive than men. Yet men are quite capable of successfully using their intuition as well.  Could it be that women usually rely on their intuition more than most men? Or is this simply one of life’s mysteries to ponder as we evolve?

Nonetheless, since justice is indeed a quality of the heart, as we generally ‘feel’ deep within us when something is not quite right or totally unfair despite what is reasonably stated, is it no wonder then that Justice is usually symbolize as a woman?

Hence, still among us are statutes of the Ancient Egyptian goddesses Ma’at (Truth) and Isis (whose name means ‘throne’), the Roman goddess Justitia or Lady Justice, and the Greek goddess Themis, all symbols of justice found throughout the world.

Meeting Durga, Hindu Goddess of Justice

My favorite symbol of Justice is the Hindu goddess Durga, whom I discovered while studying Bharata Natyam (classic temple dance of India) years ago. In times of injustice, many Hindus offer prayers to Durga. Once during class, my Hindu dance teacher gives a traditional nod to the Durga in me. Later she would cast me in her dance recital as Mahisha Asura, the fierce buffalo demon (the ego) that Durga must slay in order to redeem society.

Actually, we’re all meant to integrate the Creative forces (heart and mind) within us, thus killing off our ego (false pride). Hence, the perpetual battles between the East and the West, or so it seems: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…but the end is not yet,” Jesus the Christ, St. Matthew 24:6.

Meanwhile, to be clear here, the aforesaid goddesses in classic mythologies actually represent the intrinsic aspects of good (God) such as: Truth, Courage, Compassion and Justice. Thus, this is not at all about idol worship, but rather about honoring those sacred qualities within us.

Justice for Freddie Gray

When the Mayor said the following, I thought, wow! How cool was that: “We will get justice for Freddie Gray. Believe you me, we’ll get justice. We’re going to do it because we’re going to work together; because, if with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore

Some men seem to have taken offense to the good mayor’s insightful remarks concerning justice and healing in America via three black women. Yet, as a black woman in America who’s learned to have faith in a Higher Power, I truly understand!

The Eye Contact

Seems the fact of Freddie Gray “having made eye contact” with the police on that fateful Sunday morning has become eventful following his tragic death and its universal aftermath.

Though it is unclear concerning the eye contact in Freddie’s police report, still I am reminded of my disturbing encounter with a police officer while on my way to work.

Sometime ago on a bright and sunny day, feeling happy in my own skin, as usual, I find myself walking by three policemen who had exited the nearby fast-food store. While no eye contact as such, I do recall a fleeting glance into his face that was not friendly.

As I continued walking, I sensed his burly presence behind me, just short of breathing down my neck, and wondered why he did not turn into the adjacent parking lot with the other two police officers. Feeling most uncomfortable, I kept walking knowing my office was near.

Soon, I reach my workplace and as I am about to open the door, I sense the negative energy behind me abate and the annoying policeman leave, though I never looked back. It clearly was a campaign office for the next attorney general.

Preferring peace, I was glad the annoyance abated and that I didn’t have to report this officer who clearly was having a bad day, or a bad life, and was spoiling for a fight (the ego’s way of transferring its rage with impunity).

Sadly, young Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fell prey to their killer’s raging hatefulness, and the rest is history.

Actually, I Admire the Police

Being fond of law and order, I have an abiding respect for police work that typically requires great intelligence, empathy and self-discipline. In general, my minimal police encounters have been very positive, starting with my early childhood on the Southside of Chicago.

Many years ago while working in real estate, I happened upon an unforgettable moment of pure intelligence. He was standing at the front counter. I was in one of the cubicles behind it. As I rounded the corner into his line of vision, it strangely felt like I was walking toward an alien that was computing my race, gender, approximate age, height, and weight. Once there, he became human again, smiled one of those great President Obama type smiles and politely presented his badge. He was an FBI Agent looking for a previous tenant. Glad all went well.

Baltimore Riots of 2015 Begins

On Monday April 27, the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral, a 25-year-old African American male who died on April 19 of injuries sustained while in police custody, the now historic Baltimore Riots of 2015 begins despite his grief-stricken family’s calls for peace.

Sadly, such turn of events would be in sharp contrast to a week of intense yet generally peaceful protests, with many marching nightly against a long history of police brutality in Baltimore, and elsewhere, in the name of “Justice for Freddie”.

After school lets out that Monday, several hundred high school students begin throwing rocks and bottles at mostly police vehicles and the police. Eventually, the Police Department calls a press conference see News Week’s article here: “Public Emergency Declared After Baltimore Rioters Burn Police Cars, Loot Stores.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts steps forward and states, in part: “We have young adults here who are 15, 16, 17 years old…parents take control of your kids,” which is very significant.

The media is now closely on the ground, telecasting worldwide as events continue to unfold. News reporters abound, capturing all sides of the story with expert news analysis.

As the melee intensifies rioters, now including adults, throw bricks and bottles at police officers injuring many. Some of the officers are seriously injured and hospitalized but later recovers. Local businesses are looted and devastating fires set to many of their buildings. Firefighters are beleaguered by rioters cutting their fire hoses, but not deterred.

By nightfall, Baltimore’s mayor and governor standing together announce a one-week curfew starting the next day, and the National Guard is summoned.

On Tuesday, the next day, concerned residents are out helping with the clean-up. Civic and church leaders vow to renew corporate relationships, raise the necessary funds to start rebuilding the nearly built senior housing and community center that was burned down, though the culprit(s) remain unknown, and to help heal their city.

At the press conference Captain John Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore PD cites their decision not to use excessive force on Monday: “I don’t think that there’s anyone in the country that would expect us to deploy automatic weapons and armoured vehicles to an event with 13, 14 and 15 year olds. That’s not what people expect from their police department,” which affirms American values.

As Baltimore Riots, Police Show Remarkable Restraint

CNN anchor Don Lemon would later acknowledge. Yet, seemingly lost amid the blaming of authorities for not responding fast enough to stop Monday’s devastation was the incredible restraint the frontline police officers held in the midst of being pelted by bricks and bottles of unknown substances, despite injuries to fellow officers.

Instead, in sharp contrast to Dr. King’s nonviolent tactics in the 60s, the police were now the nonviolent ones while the protesters were the violent ones, truly a complete role reversal. Who would have thought in the turbulent 60s that a police force would ever deploy King’s nonviolent tactics during a riot, but they did in 2015 Baltimore that day. Only in America!

Thus, the wisdom of Mayor Stefanie and the Baltimore PD was not lost on all of us watching CNN that day. Knowing that children were involved and too many years of pent-up rage was poised to explode across America, police nonviolence was, indeed, the best tactic ever.

So hats off and a bow to Mayor Stefanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Police Department.

And a big thumbs-up to Toya Graham, Baltimore’s mom of the hour. Who, in fear for his life, unabashedly smacks her teenage son upside-the-head several times while snatching him away from those throwing rocks at the police, proving a mother’s love knows no boundaries.

The Right to be Loved

Love is the world’s greatest power; without love we become the poorest of the poor. Of all the rights honored or should be honored in society is the right to be loved (respected).

First, let’s be clear: there is a marked difference between love and pleasure.

Pleasure, while temporary at best, is getting a new car, buying a house, sex with the right person, a nice vacation, a good job, a nice meal, a hot bath at day’s end, and so forth.

Love, though not of this world, is always a gift usually found in a good friend, a faithful spouse, a generous boss, an inspiring teacher, a devoted parent, our children, the Arts, and even a benevolent government (possibly society’s greatest need).

Sadly, when we deny love’s presence we allow hatred into our hearts that ultimately leads to egotism and deceit, a sure path to ruin if we don’t recognize it and change.

Hatred is a very dangerous emotion that not only will cause us to self-destruct, but often seeks to either hurt or destroy others in our path.

Hence, the historic uprisings of Stonewall, Ferguson and Baltimore against unfettered police brutalities that have now spawned a new Civil Rights movement. At its vanguard is the need for protections of the right to be respected by our government at all levels, at all times.

Freddie Gray’s Last Arrest

A very sad story. Some tend to theorize that Freddie ran because he had something to hide owing to his extensive police record. Yet, maybe Freddie Gray ran for a different reason. Fear of someone planting illegal drugs on him perhaps, which Freddie had tended to believe, or so he said according to one who knew him.

In a Daily Beast article, The Last Time Freddie Gray Was Arrested by Justin Glawe: Quentin Reid, Freddie’s last bail bondsman, basically states that just prior to Freddie Gray’s last arrest he had been arrested for heroin possession and was out on bail, and had said that dope had been planted on him. Sadly, the charges against Freddie Gray have now been dropped: Abated by death,” so states the court document.

Sadder still, seems most of society tend to write off people like Freddie Gray. Reid basically observes that given Freddie’s poor education and his oppressive environment, the young man never had a chance. Yet Freddie Gray was only 25 years of age; with proper help he just might have turned his life around, much like many such people before him.

The good news is, the death of Freddie Gray, while tragic, has ignited a spark in the right place, at the right time, and amongst the right people who are willing and able to bring about definitive change in our much-needed police departments nationwide.

Among these changes, here is hoping that a communication line is established, by law, in mayor’s offices, states attorney offices and up to the department of justice where citizens are encouraged to report their perceived issues of unresolved police abuses and be heard!

As a unique method to curb routine abuses of police power, that can turn deadly, and to save hateful cops from themselves, police accountability to its citizens, whose tax-dollar pay their salaries, is long overdue. Thus, a citizen’s easy report to the aforesaid offices must include assigning a document number and such for future reference.

In this way, what Freddie Gray was unable to accomplish in life, a direct line of communication between the people and their government as to police brutality and such is fully implemented in view of his tragic death.

Updated May 20, 2015

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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After days that went into intensive months of a call for justice, Monday November 24, at around half past 8 pm, would be a sad moment for those of us anxiously awaiting the grand jury’s decision to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the tragic killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed person barely out of his teens just trying to get home.

While many in the news continued to voice their doubts given the local authorities’ brazen disregard for public demands to do the right thing, still there were those of us hoping that most of the grand jury members would follow reason, ignore that tribal impulse to support racism’s views and indict Wilson on at least one of the charges, which ranged from degrees of murder to involuntary manslaughter. But, of course, they didn’t, and thus failed to indict him.

As I watched the people’s reactions on CNN after hearing Robert McCulloch, the county prosecutor announce the grand jury’s decision of no indictment for Officer Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting, I had to fight back the tears as the subtle wailing and moaning of the frustrated protesters (most likely not much older than Michael was) managed to briefly waft above the noisy crowd. Soon, too many hours of repressed anxiety would ultimately give rise to chaos, violence and the destruction of local businesses that serve their community.

A Brutal Disregard for Humanity

Throughout the ages though never a good idea, seems chaos, violence, the burning and looting of local stock is not unusual when public demand for justice is arrogantly ignored by its leaders, and the people are left frustrated and hurt beyond belief. Sadly, Ferguson’s local leaders (from the governor on down) knew this and could have prevented it. But, they didn’t! Which reeks of a brutal disregard for humanity, or so it seems.

As most reasonable persons well know by now, if they so chose, via cable news and detailed articles on the web from the Washington Post, here, the Root, New York Daily News, Dorian Johnson’s grand jury testimony in September, Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony and such, the evidence against Officer Wilson supports the public’s (and now the world’s) demands for justice for Michael Brown: An innocent, unarmed person who simply did not deserve to be seen as less than human and then gunned down like a mad animal in the street…which is what Officer Wilson, the local authorities and other misguided folks would have us all believe!

And so while we patiently wait for justice for Mike Brown from our Justice Department, we urge those in our great society to rise above the primal instinct to defend tribalism (one’s own group) and realize that as an open and free democracy we are all in this together. Thus, justice for one is justice for all, and justice denied lets injustice thrive where we least imagine it to be.

The Gift of Humanity

A simple way out of tribalism and racism…always see another’s humanity first!   And do take care to remember our common humanity at all times. This is likely how the ancient custom of speaking, particularly when passing another or that of saying “good morning” at day’s beginning or “good night” at day’s end, came into practice in human affairs.

Finally we learn that to honor another’s humanity is to realize our own, which is a sacred gift that awakens our innermost happiness and keeps us civilized.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

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